Published on April 2nd, 2013 | by Cynthia Shahan


19-Year-Old Aerospace Student Boyan Slat Invents Cleanup System For Plastic Choking Our Oceans

April 2nd, 2013 by  

19-year-old Boyan Slat’s impassioned and educated opinion reminds us that youth, with its promising vital force, often taps into genius. If he is correct, Slat has designated some flair for environmental cleanup. He believes with his idea, developed for a student project in Aerospace Engineering, that it is possible the dreadful plastic that is choking the oceans (poisoning animals and human food chains) can thoroughly clean itself in 5 years – that is a lot less than the 79,000 years of another estimate.

ocean cleanup array

Ocean Cleanup Array. Image Credit: Boyan Slat

Plastic once seemed as a piece of the revolution for a positive future. Presently, however, plastic has multiplied to an unfathomable degree, and as in the science fiction novel mention below, increasing development of plastic is now a twin-edged point of contention.

It reminds me of the War with the Newts, a 1936 satirical science fiction novel by Czech author Karel Čapek, but with plastic replacing the Newts in this novel. Plastic certainly is, in only a few decades, taking over the world. Increases found in the most vulnerable of systems, the globe’s water systems, result in numbers such as 7.25 million tons, and graphic images such as 1000 Eiffel towers (of plastic garbage) floating in water.

Some of the most notable places studied where plastic pollution is evident is in the giant trash gyres (trash vortexes) floating in the oceans. These plastic garbage patches have been written about, and vilified, by many, but that has also served as an excellent visual aid for spurring people to action about plastics, recycling, and waste in general.

Ocean Cleanup Array. Image Credit: Boyan Slat

Ocean Cleanup Array. Image Credit: Boyan Slat

79,000 Years of Cleanup to an Efficient 5 Years

Check out Slat’s The Ocean Cleanup for more details on his plans to clean up the ocean at an incredible speed. Boyan explains how he envisions shortening a projection of 79,000 years of cleanup to an efficient 5 years.

And definitely watch this Ted talk below and learn about a future that he considers viable. I believe that as much as the Baby Boomers had their ideals, the best thing they did was give life to younger generations that have a working pragmatism, scientific curiosity, and a healthy dose of idealism.

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About the Author

is a Mother, an Organic Farmer, Licensed Acupuncturist, Anthropology Studies, and mother of four unconditionally loving spirits, teachers, and environmentally conscious beings who have lit the way for me for decades.

  • John E. Kindred

    City of Long Beach, California should be doing more to lead the way in “Environmental” cleanup in its city and if you don’t think so just go around the city and look at its streets, beaches, waterways, and so on and you see for yourself what I mean.

  • John E. Kindred

    I would love to see more people from high school, colleges and throughout the community getting involve than what we see. And our “Environmental Groups” should all be working together and networking with everyone who care about the environment.

  • Jake

    the world needs to start relying on innovative bright ideas from today’s youth. we have too many people stuck in the past with regards to policies as well as ideas. clearly the strategies being used today are not working. we need to shift our thinking and try some new strategies. hopefully something like this actually gets the chance to become a reality some time in the near future

    • Bob_Wallace

      Today’s youngers need to get very serious about solving our climate/environmental problems.

      They are the ones who will suffer most. Us olders are going to sneak away….

      (It’s not like we didn’t deal with our pile of problems. But we haven’t gotten it all done.)

      • NotaProblem

        You are the problem. The youngers need to start solving the problems because we will suffer the most? Its not like we didn’t deal with our pile of problems? Please, keep telling yourself this narrative and exacerbating the ‘problem’

        • Bob_Wallace

          I’m the problem? How did you come to that conclusion, sonny?

  • This is a long time coming, we need to start using emerging technology in practical ways and apply it to saving our world.

  • Paulina

    I like the solution that was provided, but this writing leaves something to be desired.

  • Do Mo

    Environmental Impact Studies, design approval, funding, building and overcoming protests from Greenpeace and PETA will take 78,995 years – the actual cleanup will be only five years, as stated in the article – smart move…

    • balaclava

      whom would you submit the studies to? who would review the designs for approval? how will greenpeace or PETA know where you are? This is for the middle of the ocean…

  • clever lad.

  • The day that I am not amazed by something – is the day I die.

    Watch this and be amazed.

    This is an absolutely critical issue, that we kinda’ have to solve at the same time as we respond to climate change. And this one man Boyan Slat makes me quite hopeful that we can do both!


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